Kathy Reichs is forensic anthropologist for the Offices of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of North Carolina, and for the Laboratorie de Sciences Judiciaires et de Medecine Legale for the province of Quebec. A professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, she divides her time between Charlotte and Montreal and is a frequent expert witness in criminal trials.
Forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance "Tempe" Brennan gets caught in mysteries past and present when she's called in to determine if illegal antiquities dealer Avram Ferris's gunshot death is murder or suicide. An acquaintance of Avram suggests the former: he hands Tempe a photograph of a skeleton, taken in Israel in 1963, and insists it's the reason Avram is dead. Tempe's longtime boyfriend, Quebecois detective Andrew Ryan, is also involved with the case, so the duo head to Israel where they attempt to solve the murder and a mystery revolving around a first-century tomb that may contain the remains of the family of Jesus Christ. This find threatens the worldwide Christian community, the Israeli and Jewish hierarchy and numerous illegal antiquity dealers, any of whom might be out to kill Tempe and Ryan. Not that Tempe notices. She has the habit of being oblivious to danger, which quickly becomes annoying, as does Reichs's tendency to end chapters with a heavy-handed cliffhanger ("His next words sent ice up my spine"). The plot is based on a number of real-life anthropological mysteries, and fans of such will have a good time, though thriller readers looking for chills and kills may not find the novel quite as satisfying. Agent, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Tempe Brenner gets mixed up in historical and international intrigue in Reich's latest book featuring the forensic anthropologist (see also Monday Mourning). Tempe, stationed in Quebec, is assigned to participate in an autopsy on a Hasidic Jew who was found shot to death in a warehouse closet. At the autopsy, a stranger hands her a photo of an ancient skeleton as an explanation for the victim's death. An investigation suggests that the skeleton may be the remains of an individual who died at Massada, a mountain near Jerusalem where a famous battle between the Zealots and the Romans took place in 73 C.E. Tempe and Detective Andrew Ryan travel to Israel to question the main suspect in the murder investigation, and while there, Tempe meets with a colleague who may have stumbled across the Jesus family tomb. What do "Massada Max" and the bodies in the family tomb have in common? Will Tempe's discovery shake the foundations of the three major world religions? Reichs devotes too much time at the novel's beginning to technical details, but those who wait out the first few chapters will be pleased by the engrossing story that follows. Recommended for all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/05.]-Nanci Milone Hill, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, MA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.